Chapter 16

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Tiana POV

I let a thin smile escape my lips as I stare at Tyson, who's excitedly showing me around the house, his hands flying around animatedly while a spark graces his eyes.

He looks so alive. Too alive to be with someone as dead as me.

"And this is your room," Tyson says as he opens the door and gestures around the room with grace. I look around the room and I'm pleasantly satisfied to find that the room resembles my old one.

My safe zone.

"It looks like my old room," I say, stating the obvious. I sigh as the tension leaves my shoulders at the sight of the room.

"Yeah. Mom figured you'd want some sort of familiarity while things changed so drastically in your life," Tyson says, looking at me expectantly.

"Thank you," I breathe out, at a complete lose for words. It truly baffles me sometimes that these people care for me enough to go out of their way to make sure I felt welcomed. I turn to look at Tyson and I know my eyes convey just how grateful I am.

"It's the least I could do," he says, a guilt flashing in his eyes for just a second before it vanishes like it was never there in the first place. It surprises me sometimes, the way people hide the entirety of themselves behind masks.

But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. My mask is tighter than the rest, after all.

"The least you could give is the most I've ever had then, I suppose," I murmur, looking around at the room I'd spend most of my time in.

"Is something wrong?" Tyson says all of a sudden, concern shown clearly in his eyes as he stares at me. I've always hated it when people looked closed at me. It always made me feel exposed and vulnerable. Like the person's staring at every flaw I have. Like they're judging my every move. Like they could look inside me and see the thoughts I refuse to share to the world.

I give him a shaky sigh and look up at his piercing grey eyes, the concern in them shining through. "I'm scared."

His eyes soften and he slowly takes both my hands in it, holding them so reverently that, for a moment, I wonder if I'm worth his affection.

"Do you want to know a secret? I'm scared too. I'm so scared. I wanted you far away from the stench of death. I kept imagining you being a part of it and... and I was so scared," Tyson says, looking at our intertwined hands and refusing to make eye contact.

"To be honest, I'm scared I'll join them too," I whisper, looking at our hands as well.

Tyson quickly jerks his head up to look at me before sighing and looking away guiltily. He looks like he's hiding something. Something he knows I won't like.

"What is it?" I ask sharply, pulling my hands away from his tight grip and resting them at my sides. Tyson looks at his hands, that used to hold me mine, for a while, a spark of guilt crossing his features, before he too lets his arms dangle. He sighs and looks up at me.

"I..." he says, then trails off.

"What?" I ask, feeling slightly nervous.

"I..." he says, then sighs in defeat and lowers his head before mumbling, "I asked Amanda to stay with you. She said yes."

"Wh-what?" I stutter, completely at a loss for words. I don't want to live with someone I don't know. I can't. They're a threat.

"Tiana, I'm sorry. I know you're not comfortable around new people. But.... but I got scared! I know I'm being paranoid, but I can't help it! I saw you in a pool of you're own blood, Tiana! I get nightmares about it!" he says, his voice edging on maniac.

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